2 Dec

After the dud that was ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (IMHO) that followed the brilliant ‘Jab We Met’ and underappreciated ‘Socha Na Tha’, Director Imtiaz Ali brings what one could call ‘an experimental love story’.

Rockstar’ is an unforgiving film about the journey of a musician through eccentric ecstasy and depressive reclusiveness riddled with heart break that eventually destroys him.

Janardhan Jakhar (Ranbhir Kapoor) spends his college days at talent contests getting ridiculed or sitting in the canteen admiring Jim Morrison (and his middle finger antic). One day the canteen manager, Khatana bhai (Kumud Mishra) proclaims that to be a real musician you have feel raw pain like true love and subsequent heart break. So our hero goes on his way and tries to woo the prettiest serial heart breaker in college, unavailable Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri). In his unique, slightly daft way of proposing, JJ carves a path through Heer’s cold shoulder ‘burger off’ stance to unveil a wild friendship involving R-rated films to shady discos, to JJ going to Kashmir for Heer’s marriage.

Katiya Karoon...

Heer falls in love with JJ (relabelled as Jordan), gets married and is exported to Prague while JJ joins the family business, gets disowned by his family, moves in with Khatana bhai after spending couple of months at a shrine (Nizamuddin Dargah). He then gets signed by Platinum records, a music company owned by Dhingra (Piyush Mishra) on the recommendation of Ustad Jameel Khan (the late Shammi Kapoor). A musical trip to Prague, healing of depressed Heer through wild trips to stripper-bars to back alley clubs and a romantic escapade threading on a fine line ensues, ending the entertaining first half. Post interval, everything goes wrong with a slow build up to a long but abrupt end. What was Imtiaz Ali even thinking when he put that video hotchpotch and quote (by Rumi) at the end?

Sada Haq...

The concept to start with had the foundation for some astonishing cinema. Unfortunately the story (written by Imtiaz Ali) didn’t build on that foundation thanks to some avoidable love story clichés that stretched the film run-time into the ‘yawn’ category. With some tighter editing by Aarti Bajaj, it could have made the transitions between moments less of a visual roller coaster. Talking about visuals, cinematography by Anil Mehta was top-notch. From the streets of Delhi, to the scenery in Kashmir and Prague to the concert venues; everything looked great adding to the aesthetic value of the film.

Jo bhi mein kehna chahu...Barbaad karen...alfaaz mere

Imtiaz Ali is an extraordinary film maker and excels at one thing: character development. Even though some of the smaller side characters were ignored, most characters had wonderful depth to them; something several movies this year failed miserably with. The skill with which the character of JJ is handled makes you live the journey alongside him. Fabulous!

Ranbhir Kapoor as simpleton Janardhan Jakhar

Throughout the film, it is JJ and not Ranbhir Kapoor you’re watching. He embodies the character so well that you forget you’re watching an actor doing his job. The effortlessness with which he portrays the changeover from JJ to Jordan shows why he is the future of Hindi cinema. He is leagues ahead of his generation of actors.

Ranbhir Kapoor as Jordan

Opposite him is Nargis Fakhri as Heer. One wonders (yet again) what Imtiaz Ali was thinking. Looking pretty doesn’t qualify a person as an actor, acting does. And she clearly can’t act. Shaking her head like a bobble-head while blurting out flat tone dialogues; it reminded us a lot of Katrina Kaif when she had started out. Here’s hoping sense prevails and she either goes back to modelling or joins an acting school before doing anything else.

Narghis Fakhri as Heer Kaur

Support from Piyush Mishra as a classic greedy man was entertaining while Kumund Mishra’s simplistic portrayal as Khatana was perfect. Shernaz Patel as Heer’s mother Neena Kaul and Aditi Rao Hydari as the journalist (tracking the life of Jordan) ‘Sheena’ play their parts well. Shammi Kapoor didn’t have much to do but it was hard to not get mesmerized by that glint in his eyes. The scenes he shares with Ranbhir Kapoor felt nice.

Aditi Rao Hydari as Sheena

Shammi Kapoor as Ustad Jameel Khan

Music and soundtrack by A.R. Rahman is what defines this movie. Every moment in the film had a song to set the tone with. Breathtaking rapports with the visuals entwine you in a completely different world. The production value and scale that A.R. Rahman brings to the intensity of the music in a film, no one else can compare. Mohit Chauhan as the voice of JJ/Jordan compliments Ranbhir beautifully.

O Nadaan parindey...ghar aaja

Rockstar as a musical journey excels with some fantastic acting and mesmerizing music. On the other hand, as a love story it not only falls short of expectation but drags the whole film down. Unfortunately the story is about a musician in love so neither can survive without the other. So overall it’s a bit of a mixed-bag and one feels that with better editing and casting, this could have been so much better. Irrespective of it all, I’d recommend it as a theatre-watch thanks solely to Ranbhir and A.R. Rahman.


Tum ho pass mere....


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